Fantasy trends and hidden gems: Juraj Slafkovsky keeps rolling, opportunity knocks for Jake McCabe and more

It is one of the few weeks we won’t be cursing out the NHL’s schedule-makers. Between President’s Day on Monday and Hockey Day in America next Sunday, two typical light nights are actually pretty loaded up. The least active night will still see six teams in action. And the best news of all? There are 13 four-game streamers. 

Light-Night Performers

Switching things up, let’s start with the two light nights ahead. Four-game streamers Buffalo, Columbus, Chicago, and Edmonton each have light night appearances, while Winnipeg, Minnesota and Boston have one.

Before getting to those four-game streamers, our light night spotlight turns to one of our four three-game streamers (Anaheim, Arizona, Montreal, and Philadelphia) in action on either Wednesday or Friday night.

Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, MTL | 37% Yahoo

Slafkovsky’s value continues to rise, as the forward’s point streak extended on Thursday night, and he now has 11 points over his past seven games. Playing alongside the team’s best, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, has elevated his game both at even strength and on the power play.

Four-Game Streamers

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David Perron, LW/RW, DET | 32% Yahoo

When the Red Wings signed Patrick Kane, there was obvious concern about what that would mean for Perron’s usage. Well, now the two are paired up together on a second line. Between his shot making and Kane’s passing, there’s obvious potential here. Plus, the veteran forward is slotted on the top power play unit at the moment as well. 

Jake McCabe, D, TOR | 22% Yahoo

It’s all about the stars in Toronto, so it can be tricky to benefit from that production without one of them. The Morgan Rielly suspension opens the door to that temporarily, with McCabe taking over on the top power play unit. Barring a change by way of the appeal process, the Leafs will be without their top defender for another three games — including Monday and Wednesday of next week’s fantasy matchup. 

JJ Peterka, RW, BUF | 18% Yahoo

The Sabres’ second line of Peterka, Zach Benson, and Dylan Cozens is driving play with 55 percent of the expected goals share. The offensive chances are there, but the goal scoring isn’t. If this trio can keep up the pace, we expect that lowly 3.2 shooting percentage to trend up and the results to start coming. That could be something to bet on during one of Buffalo’s two light nights ahead. 

Jani Hakanpaa, D, DAL | 17% Yahoo

For managers looking for more than just offense from their blue line, Hakanpaa has some value this week. The defender is in a prime opportunity to collect blocked shots, as soon as this Saturday against the Oilers, and through the next week with matchups against the Rangers, Senators, and Hurricanes. Hakanpaa should keep piling up the hits as well, with matchups against physical teams like the Rangers, Senators, and Bruins. 

Nico Daws, G, NJD | 16% Yahoo

It seems like Daws has gotten a nice reset after his game started to quickly decline in late January. Now he’s put together three quality starts in New Jersey, saving 4.3 goals above expected along the way. The goalie has something to prove in the consistency department, but the starts will keep coming if he can maintain this level. 

Laurent Brossoit, G, WPG | 14% Yahoo

With a four-game week ahead, including back-to-back games next Saturday and Sunday, expect at least one Laurent Brossoit appearance. Despite a rough outing against the Flyers, this is a very solid backup option who can boost your weekly numbers.

Pavel Mintyukov, D, ANA | 12% Yahoo

Mintyukov is healthy and back in the lineup, so he’s back on our radar. Sure there’s the Bad Team Effect, but he is poised to play in offensive situations, including on the top power play unit. That should come in handy on a light Wednesday night against the Blue Jackets, who rank in the bottom-10 team in expected and actual goals against.

Nicolas Roy, C/RW, VGK | 12% Yahoo

Roy keeps clicking between Jonathan Marchessault and Ivan Barbashev in Vegas, which makes him a worthwhile option this week. Something to keep an eye on is whether this five-on-five production is sustainable. That’s where the bulk of his production has come from, but the team has an inflated shooting percentage in that trio’s minutes. My advice? Ride the wave and if you see his numbers start sinking, jump ship to someone else heating up. 

Anthony Cirelli, C, TBL | 6% Yahoo

Cirelli’s picked up his even-strength scoring over this latest stretch to get on our radar. That, paired with his scoring potential on that top power play unit in Tampa Bay, is worth keeping an eye on. 

Jonas Brodin, D, MIN | 5% Yahoo

The Wild are trending in the right direction on a four-game goal streak, and much of that has to do with their star players finally playing to their potential. Managers can safely lean on Matt Boldy and Kirill Kaprizov again. And that usually has a trickle-down effect on the supporting cast. Brodin generally is more of a helper for the secondary cast, but he has contributed to Minnesota’s scoring over the latest stretch as well. That makes him a depth defense option for managers needing to round out their blue line over the next stretch. 

Nils Hoglander, LW, VAN | 4% Yahoo

Hoglander is in a prime position to perform at five-on-five on the Canucks’ top line of Elias Pettersson and Elias Lindholm. The drawback is that he doesn’t see time on the top power play unit, so he is best as a depth pickup to round out a roster, or for managers in super deep leagues. 

Kaapo Kakko, RW, NYR | 3% Yahoo

The Rangers’ third line of Will Cuylle, Jonny Brodzinski, and Kakko has impressed of late. Heading into Thursday night, the trio earned a 60 percent expected goals rate that they’ve outperformed. He isn’t the only right-winger to watch in New York, though. The Blake Wheeler injury, depending on severity, will open up a slot on Mika Zibanejad’s line. That could be a role that Kakko fills, considering some of their underlying numbers together. Or maybe Jimmy Vesey gets a nod after complementing that duo in their shifts Thursday night. 

Philipp Kurashev, C, CHI | 1% Yahoo

Things may be bleak in Chicago, but the return of Connor Bedard adds a bright spot in his minutes. So my focus is on someone who will skate alongside him in Kurashev. The forward was on a three-game point streak before Bedard returned, but now that he’s back, there is a lot more scoring potential for Kurashev with their even strength and power play time together. That, plus a favorable four-game slate, including two light nights, adds some value over the next week.  

Data via Evolving-Hockey, HockeyViz, HockeyStatCards, AllThreeZones, and NaturalStatTrick. This story relies on shot-based metrics; here is a primer on these numbers.  

 (Top photo of Juraj Slafkovsky: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

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